Short Film: Dirty Money

Here’s a short silent film with Nenagh SIlent Film Festival Friend and Fair City actor Bryan Murray, which was directed by Kevin McGee. Let’s see if we can get it up to a thousand views.

 

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Press Release: The Ballsbridge Poisoner

The Ballsbridge Poisoner

[PHOTO: At the Official Launch of the Offline Film Festival. L to R: Kevin McGee, Enda Oates, Film Board Chairman Bill O’Herlihy, Festival Director Gary Hoctor.]

FESTIVAL TRIUMPH FOR NENAGH FILM-MAKER

A film by Nenagh native Kevin McGee has been selected for three prestigious festivals in one month. The Ballsbridge Poisoner, which Kevin wrote and produced, was one of fifteen films chosen from almost 300 entries in the OffLine Festival. It will also highlight the Clones Film Festival and the International Short Film Festival in Dublin, where it has been nominated for Best Film and Best Actress.

 Eimear Morrissey 1Eimear Morrissey Performing

Kevin is thrilled by the success of the film, an Irish-English co-production starring Eimear Morrissey (Damo and Ivor), Enda Oates (Fair City’s Pete Ferguson), and the renowned Beckett interpreter Sara Jane Scaife. Despite the international crew, the film is something of an underdog on the festival circuit.

The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 1“We had no budget at all. Most of us are freelancers, so we’ve all felt the effects of the recession. That means free time, so we decided to take advantage of that and make something for ourselves. It’s fantastic that the film has also resonated with other people.”

Part of the reason is its topicality: “It’s about an office worker who is fighting against redundancy. She uses her wit and her intelligence to escape the chop. It’s a story people can identify with.”

Eimear MorrisseyDespite the title and the grim topic, the Ballsbridge Poisoner is a light-hearted affair. Kevin goes onto say that: “We wanted to say something about the downturn, but it had to be a comedy. If people want to be depressed they can turn on the News.”

The film was shot over two weekends in Dublin, with a crew of nearly thirty. Friends and family were drafted in to help. Kevin’s wife Brigie did the catering, and cousin Charlie McGee stepped in as Assistant Director. The key member of the team was the celebrated director Clive Arnold.

“Once we got Clive on board,” Kevin says, “we knew we could do it.” Clive was fresh from his success with the Bafta-winning live episode of Eastenders, so he a serious draw. His generosity was also an inspiration.

 The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 2[L to R: Producer and Writer – Kevin McGee, Director – Clive Arnold & Cameraman – John Fay]

“When Clive found that everyone was working for nothing, he turned down the fee. He paid for his own flights. He paid for his hotel. He’d hardly even take a cup of coffee. He’s a class act.”

The Ballsbridge Posioner 3Enda Oates is Watching!

Does Kevin have any plans for a follow-up? “First we have to follow the festival trail with this one. Three appearances in four weeks is something special, but we want to take it outside Ireland too. We’re hoping for a New York premiere early next year.”

 The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew 3The Ballsbridge Poisoner Crew

In the meantime, Kevin and Charlie are back at work on the Nenagh Silent Film Festival, which is due to take place on St Valentine’s weekend. Kevin states that:“We’ll be launching the programme later this year. The committee will kill me if I let anything slip, but it’s going to be special. Even better that than last year.” -END

MIDWEEK MATINEE

Rex Ingram

WATCHING WITH REX

More than one locality can claim Rex Ingram as a native. He was born in Rathmines. He spent most of his teenage years in Kinnitty, in Co. Offaly. And he left for America when he was barely twenty.

Nenagh Castle/Pearse Street 1800s

Nenagh at the turn of 19th century

But it was in Nenagh, according to his unpublished memoirs, that he saw his first movie. The screening was part of a travelling circus. Though Ingram leaves no record of the films on show, it was clearly that Nenagh show which lit the spark.

What's on the other channel

The Mutoscope

Barely two decades later such films as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had made Ingram the most successful film director in the world. Films had grown sophisticated, with huge budgets and a panoply of narrative techniques from close-ups to inter-cutting. But what might the young Ingram have seen?

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

The Internet Movie Database gathers a list of synopses that give a good picture of what 1898 had to offer. The subjects are short and simple. A battle re-enactment. A battleship launch. An Edison short about a telephone. Dance devotees can choose between the flying skirts of Can-Can and the flying kilts of The Highland Fling.

Image from the Silent Film Santa Claus

Image from the Silent Film: Santa Claus

Most of these films are lost now, like the vast majority of silent films. Nothing survives of The Nearsighted School Teacher, which might have appealed to young Rex’s anarchic streak, or The Dude’s Experience with a Girl on a Tandem, which would surely have worried his clergyman father.

Kevin Albert Smith

George Albert Smith

But some film does survive. Made by the British pioneer George Albert Smith, it is quite likely to have been included in the repertoire of a travelling show. Santa Claus is short and charming, and calculated to enthral any six-year-old.

Images of Street Arab

Images from Street Arab

Even more curious is the boy who breakdances his way through Edison’s Street Arab. Children love child performers. Is this limber urchin the root of Ingram’s long fascination with the Arab world?

Posted by Kevin McGee